A study commissioned by Co-operative Food has revealed that Spartan apples are the best for bobbing this Halloween.
Two hundred pupils from Years 8, 9 and 10 at the Co-operative College in Leeds put various British apples to the test, looking at factors that affect an apple’s bobbing ability. They tested softness, size, shape, buoyancy, density, and the apple’s stability in water.
The Spartan apple – a sweet variety often used for cooking and desserts – won over the Royal Gala, in second, and Cox’s Orange Pippin in third. It will now be displayed as ‘best for bobbing’ in various Co-op Food stores.
Christina McGhie, Subject Leader for Science at the Co-operative Academy of Leeds, supervised the research:
“There are pupils from around 80 different cultures and countries at the school, some who had never experienced the traditional game of apple bobbing. However all of them were enthralled by the study, taking into account all of the variables and declaring the Spartan to be best for bobbing.”
The Group’s apple buyer, Sarah Eldridge, was impressed by the pupils’ research.
“The meticulous way in which students went about the research was fantastic,” she said. “Various techniques were displayed, making waves in the bowl and pushing the apple to edge of the water. However, it was found that the key to apple bobbing success lies with the choice of apple and with its soft flesh, medium size and buoyancy, the Spartan dessert apple enjoyed the sweet taste of victory.”
Apple bobbing is thought to have been introduced to Britain by the invading Roman army, who merged some of their own celebrations with traditional Celtic festivals. The custom dictated that the shape of the apple seeds inside determined who was next to be married. Young people would bob for the apple: the first one to successfully take a bite would be next to be wed.